President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009.
AP: President Barack Obama is moving at an historic pace to try to diversify the nation’s federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn’t selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.
More than 70 percent of Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were “non-traditional,” or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book “Picking Federal Judges”.
“It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement,” said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst…
…. The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. With the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he has put three women on the high court for the first time. The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.
… Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half – 47 percent – are women…
… “The more diverse the courts, the more confidence people have in our judicial system,” said Nan Aron of the liberal Alliance for Justice. “Having a diverse judiciary also enriches the decision-making process.”